1. Get SMART
According to a study from the University of Michigan, goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound – are easier to stick to. When setting your resolution or intention, instead of vaguely aiming for "weight loss" commit to "losing 10% of your body fat in one year".
2. Start habits
A number of studies have found that that it’s not punishing diets or gruelling workouts that equal outcomes, it’s methods for altering behaviour for the long term. Try slowly introducing small habits that will help you toward your goal – like consistent meal times and swapping out soft drinks – to a point where they’re as instinctive as brushing your teeth and tying your shoelaces.
“Habits require consistency and a trigger,” Dr Gina Cleo, Accredited Practicing Dietitian and researcher at Bond University’s Centre for Research in Evidence-Based Practice tells Women's Health. “You put on your seat belt because you're triggered by something in the car. So you have to associate either a time or a place for the behaviour you want to form. If you want to start eating more fruit for example, instead of saying to yourself ‘I’m going to eat more fruit’ you have to attach it to something. So it would be, ‘when I have breakfast I will have a piece of fruit’ and then eating breakfast becomes the trigger to remember to have that piece of fruit.”
3. Get social
Research has found that sharing your goals can help with success. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found a massive 42 per cent increase in sustained weight loss amongst those that used a support network to help them lose weight. Research from the Dominican University of California also found that writing down your goals, sharing them with a mate and sending weekly updates made people 33 per cent more successful at achieving them.